Latest News LIVE: NIA arrests four more in Kerala gold smuggling case

NIA had previously arrested Swapna Suresh and Sandeep Nair (both in middle) in the Kerala gold smuggling case. Photo: PTI
As thousands of students wait for the Supreme Court's final verdict on UGC Exam guidelines 2020, the apex court was expected to pronounce its verdict on the petitions filed against University Grants Commission guidelines (UGC Exam guidelines 2020) today. However, the matter is not listed in the SC cause list for today. Advocate Alakh Alok Srivastava has confirmed the same in a tweet. On July 6, the UGC had issued a set of revised guidelines in which it was mandatory to conduct undergraduate and postgraduate final year examinations of all colleges/universities by the end of September. 

Meanwhile, Chief Ministers belonging to various opposition parties on Wednesday got together and discussed the issue of GST compensation to states, with Congress President Sonia Gandhi saying the Centre's refusal to reimburse the states was nothing short of betrayal of the people by the Modi government.

On students' problems and the issue of exams arising out of the pandemic situation, she said it is being dealt with uncaringly by the Centre. Mamata Banerjee urges all chief ministers to together move the Supreme Court for postponing the NEET and JEE exams as students are not prepared.

Stay tuned for the latest news of the day

LIVE: Congress President Smt. Sonia Gandhi in discussion with 7 state CMs.

— Congress (@INCIndia) August 26, 2020


China will release funds to local govts more quickly to boost economy

China will speed up the release of special funds to local governments to support the economy, Vice- Finance Minister Xu Hongcai told reporters on Wednesday.
The government has said it would set up special transfer payments of 2 trillion yuan ($289.72 billion) from special treasury bonds and an increased budget deficit to local governments.
“The implementation of specific policies and measures will have a positive impact on investment, consumption as well as imports and exports,” Xu told a briefing.
Of the 2 trillion yuan, 1.7 trillion yuan will be allocated to local governments after deducting 300 billion yuan for supporting tax and fee cuts this year, Xu said.

Covid-19: Japan govt signals push to re-open economy, boost stimulus

Japan wants to avert another state of emergency and needs to consider more stimulus to revive the economy, the government’s top spokesman said, signalling Tokyo’s resolve to focus on re-opening businesses hammered by the coronavirus pandemic.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga also dismissed speculation that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe may step down for health reasons, saying Abe’s comments on Monday that he would continue to do his best in his job “explains it all”.
Suga - widely seen as one of the main contenders to succeed Abe - said he had no intention of pursuing the post, even if urged to do so by associates. He said he “never thought about” taking on the position.

Apple privacy changes will muck up online advertisementss, says Facebook

Facebook is pushing back on new Apple privacy rules for its mobile devices — and putting app developers in the middle.
Apple will soon require apps to ask users for permission to collect data on what devices they are using and to let ads follow them around on the internet.
The social network said Wednesday that those rules could reduce what apps can earn by advertising through Facebook's audience network.
Facebook said it expects “less impact" on its own advertising revenue than on the ad-supported businesses that rely on its audience network to promote their apps. Read more

Tata Sons to outline group's digital strategy at AGM on Thursday

The shareholders of Tata Sons — the unlisted holding company of Tata Group — will get a glimpse of the group’s digital strategy on Thursday during the company’s annual general meeting (AGM).
The e-AGM comes at a time when the group is facing significant challenges in each of its businesses, barring its software exporter firm, Tata Consultancy Services.
Two of the group’s businesses in Europe — Tata Steel Europe and Jaguar Land Rover — were disrupted due to the pandemic. Both group companies had to shut down plants and furlough workers. Both companies were in talks to take a bailout from the UK government. Read more

Congress constitutes 5-member committee to discuss stand on key ordinances

Latest News LIVE: Police issues an alert in Reasi district of Jammu and Kashmir

Russia's Rosatom to make N-fuel for India's VVER-1000 reactors

Russia's integrated nuclear power player Rosatom will make uranium-plutonium REMIX fuel matrix for India's VVER-1000 reactors, the company said. According to Rosatom, the remix fuel will be made at the site of the Siberian Chemical Combine (SCC) -- part of TVEL Fuel Company, a group company.
The shop floor of SCC will be modernised and the Investment Committee of Rosatom has accorded the sanction. India has two functional VVER-1000 reactors and two more under construction at Kudankulam in Tirunelveli district of Tamil Nadu. Two more VVER-1000 units -- 5 and 6 -- will also come up at Kudankulam, according to a PTI report.

TRAI issues showcause notice to Vodafone Idea on priority plan; says offer 'misleading'

Telecom regulator TRAI has slapped a showcause notice on Vodafone Idea Ltd over its pay-more-for-priority treatment mobile plan, saying the tariff offer "lacks transparency", is "misleading" and not in compliance with regulatory framework.
TRAI had been probing the Vodafone Idea Ltd (VIL's) priority plan. The watchdog has issued an elaborate 17-page notice to the telco asking it to explain by August 31, "as to why appropriate action should not be initiated against it for violating the extant regulatory framework by its RedX tariff plan...".
"The RedX Tariff offer lacks transparency and is misleading and not in compliance with regulatory principles of tariff assessment contained under Telecom Tariff Order, 1999 as amended from time to time," TRAI has said in the showcause notice seen by PTI.

Sonia Gandhi musters seven CMs' support against Centre over NEET, JEE exams

Days after the charge by some members of the Congress that the party needed a more active leadership, interim Congress president Sonia Gandhi got seven opposition chief ministers on one platform to together accuse the Centre of being insensitive to the concerns of state governments. The chief ministers are likely to file a review petition against the Supreme Court order that NEET and JEE must be held as scheduled, while noting that the centre had failed to do so and was not bothered about the health crisis holding such examinations could cause. The examinations are due in September. The chief ministers also lambasted the centre for withholding GST compensation.
What the chief ministers said is as significant as the orientation of the parties they represented. Congress-ruled states like Punjab, Puducherry, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan were naturally present, but in what was a political coup, Gandhi managed to rope in West Bengal’s Mamata Banerjee. READ MORE...

Cops rescued three families from a flash flood in Ujh river of Kathua district in Jammu and Kashmir

CCI approves Carlyle Group's stake acquisition in Airtel's data centre business

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) on Wednesday said it has approved acquisition of compulsorily convertible preference shares and equity shares in Airtel's data centre business, Nxtra Data, by Carlyle Group's Comfort Investments II. The Carlyle Group in July said it will acquire about 25 per cent stake in Nxtra Data Ltd for USD 235 million (about Rs 1,780 crore), news agency PTI reported.
This will peg the enterprise valuation of Nxtra Data at USD 1.2 billion, which is over Rs 9,084 crore.
On completion of the deal, Carlyle will hold about 25 per cent stake in the business, with Airtel continuing to hold the remaining stake of about 75 per cent.

GST Council meet in offing; states' revenue shortfall, compensation to be discussed

The GST Council meeting on Thursday is likely to be a stormy affair as opposition-ruled states unite to pressure the Centre to give them the promised compensation for loss of revenue arising from the implementation of GST, according to a PTI report. The 41st meeting of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council, to be held via video conferencing, has just one agenda for discussion -- making up for shortfall in states' revenues, sources said.
The options being explored are market borrowing, raising cess rate or increasing the number of items for levy of compensation cess. Discussion on correction in inverted duty on certain goods like textiles and footwear is also likely, they said. The COVID-19 crisis has further compounded the state's fiscal problems.

Roof collapsed in Madhya Pradesh's Rajgarh district; no casualties reported

Latest News LIVE: Court sends JNU student to 4-days police custody in UAPA case

A Delhi court Wednesday sent JNU student Sharjeel Imam, arrested under the stringent anti terror law -- Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, to four days police custody in a case related to communal violence in north east Delhi in February. Imam, arrested by the Special Cell of the Delhi police on Tuesday, was produced on Wednesday before the court through video conferencing.
Additional Sessions Judge Amitabh Rawat allowed the custodial interrogation of Imam. Delhi Police had sought his custody for five days.

Mamata Banerjee appeals for joint petition by states against Centre's decision to hold NEET, JEE exams

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Wednesday proposed that her counterparts in various states together move Supreme Court against its order for holding JEE and NEET examinations and appeal for its postponement if the Centre is unwilling to do so. She also said that state governments are being "bulldozed" and their rights are being curtailed by the Centre in the name of cooperative federalism, according to a PTI report.
Banerjee said aspiring students will face enormous trouble due to the ongoing restrictions across the country and requested opposition chief ministers to move together to the apex court.
Blaming the Centre for announcing the exam dates amidst the ongoing pandemic and restrictions due to it, she said the students are facing a lot of hardships as travel by air and roads are yet to resume fully.
"Students are facing a lot of hardships and the decision by the Centre will harm the students during the pandemic," Banerjee said adding that if the law permits then chief ministers of various states can take the initiative and file a joint appeal at the apex court.

Centre frames draft policy on data privacy under National Digital Health Mission

To safeguard confidential health data collected from people under the National Digital Health Mission (NDHM), the government has proposed a framework and a set of minimum standards for data privacy protection to be followed across the board in compliance with applicable laws and regulations. The NDHM was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the occasion of 74th Independence Day, according to a PTI report.
The National Health Authority (NHA), the central agency responsible for the implementation of Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana, which has been mandated to design and roll out NDHM in the country, has released the draft 'Health Data Management Policy' in the public domain.
The document has been put up on the official website of National Digital Health Mission seeking comments and feedback from the public till September 3.

I-T refunds of Rs 95,853 crore issued to 2.55 million taxpayers this fiscal

The Income Tax department on Wednesday said it has issued refunds worth Rs 95,853 crore to over 25.55 lakh taxpayers in the current fiscal.
This include personal income tax refunds amounting to Rs 29,361 crore issued to 23.91 lakh taxpayers and corporate tax refunds amounting to Rs 66,493 crore to over 1.63 lakh taxpayers during this period.
"CBDT issues refunds of over Rs 95,853 crore to more than 25.55 lakh taxpayers between 1st April, 2020 to 25th August, 2020. Income tax refunds of Rs 29,361 crore have been issued in 23,91,517 cases & corporate tax refunds of Rs 66,493 crore have been issued in 1,63,272 cases," the I-T department tweeted.
The government has emphasised on providing tax-related services to taxpayers without any hassles during COVID-19 pandemic and to that end has been clearing up pending tax refunds.

Opposition ruled states should collectively move SC for postponement of NEET, JEE exams: Mamata

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said on Wednesday that opposition ruled states such as Maharashtra, Punjab, West Bengal, Jharkhand should collectively approach the Supreme Court for deferring NEET, JEE Main exams to be held next month. Taking part in a discussion through video conferencing with Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and chief ministers of some opposition ruled states, Banerjee said she had raised her concerns with the Prime Minister, news agency ANI reported.
"The exams are in September. Why should the lives of students be put at risk? We have written to the PM, but there has been no response. If the Prime Minister does not listen to us, then we all (states) collectively should approach the Supreme Court," she said.
Sonia Gandhi raised the issues concerning GST dues of states, the draft Environment Impact Assessment notification and National Education Policy. Banerjee said that apart from the movement of trains being hampered, the COVID-19 pandemic has also had a negative impact on the mental health of the students.
"I request the state governments, let us do it together. Let's go to the Supreme Court and request it to postpone it for the time being (till) the situation is right. We stand by our students, whatever help they require, we are willing to do it," she said.

Second negative arms import list likely by year-end: Defence Ministry

Seeking to further promote indigenisation in the military sector, the Defence Ministry is working on the preparation of the second negative arms import list, which is likely to be issued by the end of this year and is expected to include more equipment that would be barred from being imported by the forces.
The first negative imports list was issued by the Defence Ministry on August 9, which has led to a ban on import of 101 military items including artillery guns, conventional submarines and fighter aircraft in the category of the Light Combat Aircraft.
"The Department of Military Affairs is working with all the stakeholders including the three defence forces to prepare the list which would be very comprehensive and is likely to be issued around the end of this year," Defence Ministry sources told ANI.

Water enters low lying areas in Odisha's Mayurbhanj, following heavy rainfall

Flood situation slightly improves in Uttar Pradesh; 19 districts affected

The total number of flood-affected villages in Uttar Pradesh came down on Wednesday as the overall condition improved even though one more district was hit by the deluge.
The number of districts hit by floods in the state went up to 19 with Shahjahanpur being added to the list.
"The flood situation is improving in the state. There are 19 flood-affected districts, where 922 villages are affected, of which 571 are marooned," state Relief Commissioner Sanjay Goel said. Till Tuesday, 18 districts with 1,090 villages, including 620 marooned ones, were flood-affected.

Vedanta moves Supreme Court seeking reopening of Sterlite copper plant

Mining major Vedanta Ltd has moved to the Supreme Court, challenging the Madras High Court's refusal to order reopening of Sterlite's copper smelting plant at Thoothukudi in Tamil Nadu.
On August 18, the Madras High Court refused to allow the reopening of Vedanta Ltd owned Sterlite Copper's Smelting plant in Thoothukudi and dismissed all the 10 petitions filed by the company. The Madras HC had, on August 18, refused to allow the reopening of Sterlite copper smelting plant, which has remained shut since April 2018. The court dismissed the plea filed by Vedanta challenging the closure of the plant.
The Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) had, on April 9, 2018, rejected the renewal of consent to operate the plant, and the state government ordered the closure of the plant after 13 people were shot dead by the police on May 22, during a protest against the plant. READ MORE...

Over 400,000 admit cards downloaded for medical entrance exam NEET within 3 hours

Over four lakh admit cards for medical entrance exam NEET were downloaded within three hours on Wednesday, sources said, according to a PTI report. The National Testing Agency (NTA) released the admit cards for the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) at 12 pm on Wednesday. "Admit cards of NEET were available for download at 12 today. Over 4 lakh candidates have downloaded in first 3 hours," sources said.
While the NEET is planned on September 13, engineering entrance exam JEE Main is scheduled from September 1-6. Around 9.53 lakh candidates have registered for JEE-Mains and 15.97 lakh students have registered for NEET.
Amid rising clamour for postponement of the crucial exams in view of rising COVID-19 cases, the Ministry of Education (MoE) officials had reiterated on Tuesday that the exams will be conducted as per schedule in September.

Except final semester, other exams for UG, PG students are cancelled: Tamil Nadu CM

Except the final semester, other examinations for undergraduate and postgraduate students are cancelled in view of the COVID-19 pandemic, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K Palaniswami said, according to a PTI report.
Except the final semester exams, students who have paid fee for subjects related to other semesters and waiting for exams shall be exempted from taking the examinations and they would be awarded marks, he said.
Accepting the request of students considering their welfare and as per the recommendations of a high level committee, the decision has been taken, Palaniswami said in a statement. Also, the move is in sync with the guidelines of the University Grants Commission and the All India Council for Technical Education, he noted.

IYC members stage protest in Delhi demanding JEE, NEET postponement

Members of the Congress' youth wing staged a protest near the Shastri Bhawan here on Wednesday, demanding postponement of the JEE and NEET exams in view of the coronavirus pandemic. Several protesters, who tried to enter the Education ministry, housed at Shastri Bhawan, to submit a memorandum, were detained by the police and taken to Mandir Marg police station, said IYC national media coordinator Rahul Rao.
The national president of IYC, Srinivas BV, said that keeping in mind the safety of lakhs of students, the Central government should postpone the exams.
"At a time when even Union ministers and chief ministers are getting infected with the coronavirus, it is unthinkable that the Centre is not postponing the JEE and NEET examinations," he said.
The IYC demands that the Centre should postpone these examinations in the interest of the students. Holding the exams is a necessary step, but it can not be done by putting the lives of lakhs of students at risk, Srinivas said.

Fire breaks out at a toy manufacturing factory in Noida's Sector 63; fire fighting operation underway

Uttar Pradesh govt raises bank loans worth Rs 5,900 crore for Bundelkhand Expressway

In a major boost to the mega 296-km Bundelkhand Expressway, the Uttar Pradesh government has raised bank loans worth Rs 5,900 crore for the ongoing project.
The fresh loans have been raised from a consortium of public sector lenders comprising Bank of Baroda, Union Bank of India, Bank of Maharashtra, Indian Bank, Bank of India and Uco Bank.
An agreement for loans totalling Rs 5,900 crore for Bunelkhand Expressway, expected to cost Rs 15,000 crore, was signed on Tuesday between these banks and state nodal agency UP Expressway Industrial Development Authority (UPEIDA). Last month, the UPEIDA board had cleared the proposal of raising Rs 5,900 crore for the Expressway from banks. READ MORE...

I condemn people who are going against NEET and JEE: Karnataka Deputy CM

Latest News LIVE: Odisha govt slashes school syllabus by 30% up to class 12

The Odisha government on Wednesday announced that school syllabus up to class 12 will be reduced by 30 per cent for the current academic session. The decision was taken as schools are closed across the state due to the COVID-19 pandemic, said School and Mass Education Minister Samir Ranjan Dash.
The announcement was made based on the recommendation of three committees set up for the purpose, he said. The new syllabus will be available on the official websites of the Board of Secondary Education (BSE), Council of Higher Secondary Education (CHSE) and State Council of Educational Research and Training (SCERT), according to a PTI report.

We should together fight Centre for undermining states' rights: CMs of opposition-ruled states

Chief Ministers belonging to various opposition parties on Wednesday got together and discussed the issue of GST compensation to states, with Congress President Sonia Gandhi saying the Centre's refusal to reimburse the states was nothing short of betrayal of the people by the Modi government. Gandhi convened a virtual meeting of chief ministers of opposition-ruled states to discuss the key issues confronting them, news agency PTI reported.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray, Jharkhand CM Hemant Soren and chief ministers of Congress-ruled states Amarinder Singh, Ashok Gehlot, Bhupesh Baghel and V Narayanasamy attended the meeting. In her introductory remarks, Sonia Gandhi said she agreed with Banerjee and Thackeray that all opposition-ruled states should together fight the Centre for their rights.
"We have to work together and fight together against the Central government," Gandhi said at the meeting while endorsing Banerjee and Thackeray. "We should decide whether we have to fight or fear," Thackeray said at the meeting. Banerjee earlier said the situation was "very serious" and opposition-ruled states should fight unitedly.

All states should collectively approach Supreme Court: West Bengal CM on issue of NEET, JEE exams

Further delay in conducting JEE, NEET can have serious repercussions: IIT Delhi director

Any further delay in conducting entrance exams JEE and NEET will have "serious repercussions" on not only the academic calendar but also career of bright students, IIT Delhi Director V Ramgopal Rao said, according to a PTI report.
Rao's comments come in the wake of growing clamour for postponing the two crucial exams in the wake of rise in COVID-19 cases.
"The consequences of postponing these exams any further can have serious repercussions on IIT academic calendars and for candidates. I fail to see how we can run two batches together. It will become a zero academic year for lakhs of students. Our academic calendars are too packed already and linked to too many other things. The delays can impact the careers of so many bright students.
"We have already lost six months. If we conduct the exams in September, we can at least start the sessions in Indian Institutes of Technology (could be online) in December. Tinkering with the examination pattern or admission processes in these times will also be detrimental and unfair for everyone," Rao said in a social media post.

Refusal of GST compensation to states betrayal on part of Centre: Sonia Gandhi

Congress interim President Sonia Gandhi on Wednesday hit out at the Centre and said that refusal to pay Goods and Services Tax (GST) compensation to States is nothing short of betrayal on the part of the Narendra Modi government, according to an ANI report.
Her remarks came during a meeting, held via video conferencing, with Chief Ministers of Congress-ruled states and their counterparts of West Bengal, Maharashtra and Jharkhand on the issues related to GST dues of states, Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) (Main) and the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) (UG) exams.
"There are a number of issues related to Centre-State relations and since Parliament is expected to meet in less than 3 weeks. I thought we should have an interaction so that we can have a coordinated approach. GST compensation seems to be a big issue. GST compensation being paid to States on time according to laws passed by Parliament is crucial. But it is not happening. Dues have accumulated and finances of all the States are badly affected," she said.
"In the meeting of the Standing Committee of Finance on August 11, 2020, the Finance Secretary clearly stated that the Central government is not in a position to pay their mandatory compensation of 14 per cent for the current year. This refusal to compensate the State is nothing short of betrayal on the part of the Narendra Modi government, betrayal of State governments and people of India," she said.

GST compensation seems to be a big issue, Dues have accumulated and state finances badly affected: Sonia Gandhi

LIVE news: Mamata Banerjee urges all CMs to move SC to postpone NEET, JEE

Mamata Banerjee urges all CMs to together move Supreme Court for postponing NEET, JEE exams as students are not prepared. State governments 'bulldozed' by Centre in name of cooperative federalism; we are fighting the battle: Mamata Banerjee at meeting of opposition CMs. Draft EIA legislation is anti-democratic; laws to protect environment, public health being weakened by Modi govt: Sonia Gandhi at CMs' meet, according to a PTI report.

NEET exam 2020: Tamil Nadu govt seeks exemption of students from state

The Tamil Nadu government has requested the Centre to scrap NEET or at least exempt students from the state from attending that exam if they were held, Minister K A Sengottaiyan said on Wednesday. Speaking to reporters after inaugurating Rs 4.62 crore worth of developmental works in Nambiyur village near Gobichettipalayam, the School Education Minister reiterated that Chief Minister K Palaniswami would take a decision on re-opening of schools only after the COVID-19 pandemic goes.
The Minister said admission in government and government-aided schools has begun and the response has been overwhelming, news agency PTI reported. Replying to a query on complaints from parents of school students that some private institutions were collecting 100 per cent fee, the Minister said if the parents lodge a proper complaint with proof, action would be taken on such schools.
He cited the court order that only 40 per cent of the fees should be collected.

Gujarat, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu top Niti's export preparedness index

Industrially developed states like Gujarat, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu have clinched the top rankings in the government's new Export Preparedness Index, 2020.
Released on Wednesday, the index maps the export scenario in each state and will "help identify strategic recommendations for improving export competitiveness" according to the Niti Aayog. The central public think tank has bet on the index heavily to provide critical insight into the challenges of the export process. Created over the past 12-15 months, the index will guide policymaking in the export segment with an eye on achieving a $5-trillion economy by 2024, senior Niti Aayog officials said. READ MORE...

BCCI appoints VPS Healthcare as official testing agency for IPL 2020

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has appointed a UAE-based healthcare group, VPS Healthcare, as the official testing agency for the 13th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL), according to an ANI report.
Being the official testing partner, VPS Healthcare will be responsible for the COVID-19 testing for all players, support staff of franchisees, BCCI staff, and the wider IPL stakeholders for the entire duration of the tournament. During the tournament, the healthcare group will be conducting over 20,000 tests.
Initially scheduled to commence in March in India, the tournament was postponed due to the coronavirus. Now the 2020 edition of the IPL will take place in the UAE, beginning from September 19.

Congress President Sonia Gandhi discussing GST and exam-postponement with seven state CMs

CBDT issues refunds of over Rs 95,853 crore to over 2.55 mn taxpayers between April 1 to August 25

Postpone or find alternative way to conduct NEET, JEE exams: Manish Sisodia to Centre

Delhi Deputy Chief Minister and Education Minister Manish Sisodia on Wednesday said that the Central government should either postpone or find an alternative way to conduct NEET and JEE exams.
"Centre has closed its eye to the ground situation in the country and forcing 28 lakhs students to appear for the exams. I think the Central Government should postpone the NEET and JEE exams or they should find an alternative way of conducting the exams," he told reporters. "Examination system across the world is evolving, there are 1,000 alternate ways to conduct exams," he said.
Earlier, the National Testing Agency (NTA) announced that the Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) (Main) will be held from September 1 to 6 and National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) (UG) on September 13.

Accenture to lay off 25,000 employees, Indians set to lose jobs

Global professional services company Accenture which has over 5 lakh employees worldwide is to cut at least 5 per cent of its 'low-performing workforce and thousands of Indians are set to lose jobs owing to the sluggish business the company is witnessing during the Covid-19 pandemic, according to an IANS report.
A report in the Australian Financial Review (AFR) first reported this, citing an internal staff meeting by Accenture CEO Julie Sweet in mid-August. India, which has the largest Accenture employee base of nearly 2 lakh employees, could see thousands of workers being affected by the move. Accenture told IANS that at this time, the company is not planning extraordinary global workforce actions.

SC disposes of plea seeking salary payment to doctors, healthcare workers

The Supreme Court Wednesday disposed of a plea seeking payment of salary to doctors and healthcare workers on the ground that the Delhi High Court was already seized of the matter.
A bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan said the high court had already taken suo motu cognizance of multiple media reports about the non payment of salary.
"In light of the suo motu proceedings being taken up by the Delhi High Court, we dispose of the plea with liberty to petitioner to raise issues, if any before the Delhi High Court," the bench also comprising Justices R Subhash Reddy and M R Shah, said. The top court also noted that the North Delhi Municipal Corporation has started paying salary to doctors. READ MORE...

Maharashtra building collapse: Death toll 15, rescue operation called off

With the recovery of two more bodies early on Wednesday, the death toll in the building collapse incident in Maharashtra's Raigad district mounted to 15, a police official said.
The authorities called off the rescue operation around 11.30 am on Wednesday as all the 17 missing persons- 15 deceased and two rescued, were traced, the official said. At least nine others, who suffered injuries in the incident, are undergoing treatment in a hospital, he said. The five-storey building - Tareq Garden- in Mahad town, around 170 kms from Mumbai, collapsed on Monday evening.
"The bodies of a 70-year-old man and a 60-year-old woman were recovered in the early hours of Wednesday. This took the death toll in the incident to 15," Superintendent of Police, Raigad, Anil Paraskar told PTI.

Latest News LIVE: Central govt should postpone NEET and JEE exams, says Manish Sisodia

NEET, JEE exams will risk exposing 2.8 mn students to coronavirus: Manish Sisodia

Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia on Wednesday reiterated his demand that medical and engineering entrance exams NEET and JEE be postponed and the Central government work on alternative methods for selecting students, according to a PTI report.
"They (Centre) are saying protocols will be followed. Following the same protocols that the Centre wants 28 lakh students to follow, lakhs of Indians have tested positive," Sisodia told reporters.
He said the Union Home Minister tested positive for coronavirus despite staying in a very safe environment, and that many other leaders including Delhi Health Minister have also contracted the contagious disease.
"So many top leaders have got infected with COVID-19 despite taking all precautions. So, how can we take the risk of sending 28 lakh students to exam centre and be assured that they will not be infected," Sisodia asked. He said the Central government should immediately postpone the exams and work on "alternative methods" of admission.

India will need to find jobs for additional 90 mn, says McKinsey report

At least 90 million additional people will be in search of non-farm jobs during eight years from 2022-23 to 2029-30 and India needs to grow in the range of 8-8.5 per cent annually to employ them, says McKinsey Global Institute (MGI). The figures do not include 55 million women who may come back to the labour force to “partially correct the historical underrepresentation."
Reaching there would require major reforms which if not carried out could result in a decade of economic stagnation, warned MGI in its report, titled "India's turning point -- An economic agenda to spur growth and jobs". Read on...

Police use water cannon to disperse BJP Yuva Morcha workers who are heading towards Kerala Secretariat

MP CM announces financial assistance of Rs 895,000 to the kin of the people who lost their lives in a building collapse in Dewas

Madhya Pradesh CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan announces financial assistance of Rs 895,000 to the kin of the people who lost their lives in a building collapse in Dewas: Chief Minister's Office

IPL 2020: Players from KXIP, Royals set for first net session in months after completing 6-day quarantine

All Kings XI Punjab and Rajasthan Royals squad members, who arrived here last week, will have their first proper training session in months on Wednesday evening, having tested negative for Covid-19 thrice during their mandatory six-day quarantine.
To beat the searing Dubai heat, teams have opted to train in the evening. KXIP and Royals, who are based in Dubai, and Kolkata Knight Riders, who are in Abu Dhabi, were among the first batch of teams to arrive on Thursday.
Following the players' arrival, they were tested on day 1, 3 and 6 as per the BCCI Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) and having cleared three tests, KXIP and Royals players are all set to resume training.

Maharashtra: Death toll rises to 16 (7 males and 9 females) in the building collapse incident in Raigad

Rescue operation is underway

Sushant Singh Rajput Case: Another team of CBI officials arrives at the DRDO guest house in Santacruz, Mumbai

Jammu & Kashmir: Flood-like situation in Rajouri district

Earthquake in West Bengal: Medium-intensity earthquake of 4.1 magnitude struck Durgapur's Paschim Bardhaman district

Medium-intensity earthquake of 4.1 magnitude struck Durgapur in West Bengal's Paschim Bardhaman district; no report of damages so far: Officials

Google launches fast loading tabs, cool features in Chrome browser

Google has introduced several features including tabs that load faster and let you organise and find them easily in Chrome browser as you work or study from home.
To start with, Google has made tabs 10 per cent faster in Chrome via under-the-hood performance improvements.
Now the users can collapse and expand tab groups so it's easier to see the ones they need to access. Read on...

NTA says, JEE (Main) and NEET (UG) exams will be held on the dates announced earlier, which are 1st to 6th Sept and 13th Sept respectively

Hurricane Laura poses biggest storm threat to U.S. oil output in 15 years

 The U.S. energy industry on Tuesday was preparing for a major hurricane strike, cutting crude production at a rate approaching the level of 2005's Hurricane Katrina and halting oil refining at plants along the Texas-Louisiana coast.
Officials in the two states ordered hundreds of thousands of coastal residents to flee inland as Hurricane Laura strengthened and forecasters predicted it would become a major hurricane with sustained, 115 mile per hour (185 kph) winds.
At least a 10-foot (3-meter) storm surge will likely hit the upper Texas coast later this week, said Chris Kerr, a meteorologist at agriculture, energy and weather data provider DTN. He said rapid intensification could even produce a devastating Category 4 hurricane.
Oil producers on Tuesday had evacuated 310 offshore facilities and shut 1.56 million barrels per day (bpd) of crude output, 84% of Gulf of Mexico's offshore production, near the 90% outage that Katrina brought 15 years ago.
The storm will make landfall by early Thursday in an area that accounts for more than 45% of total U.S. petroleum refining capacity and 17% of oil production, according to the Energy Information Administration.

Nirav Modi case: PNB receives Rs 24 cr as first tranche of recovery from US

The central government on Tuesday said that Punjab National Bank (PNB) has informed the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) that it has received $3.25 million (the equivalent of Rs. 24.33 crores) as the first tranche of recoveries in fugitive Nirav Modi case from the USA.
"Upon liquidation of the debtors' assets by the US Chapter 11 Trustee, a sum of $ 11.04 million (equivalent of Rs. 82.66 crore) is available for distribution to unsecured creditors including PNB. Further recovery therefrom is subject to other expenses and settlement of claims of other claimants," MCA said in a release. Read on...

No funds available: Depositors at PMC Bank survive on loans, charity

In February, 82-year-old Kishan Lal appealed to India's finance minister for help, saying in a Twitter message he was ready to donate his kidney and eyes if someone could help arrange funds to treat his daughter, who had a brain tumour.
The Lals had enough savings to tide over the medical crisis - more than 2.5 million rupees ($33,450) in Punjab & Maharashtra Co-operative (PMC) Bank. But withdrawals were capped at 50,000 rupees from each account at the time because authorities were investigating fraud at PMC. Read on...

Texas, Louisiana brace for Hurricane Laura; 500,000 ordered to evacuate

As Hurricane Laura hurtled towards the US, more than half a million people have been ordered to evacuate the Texas and Louisiana coasts, in the largest evacuation in the country during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Laura became the fourth hurricane of the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season Tuesday morning and is expected to intensify over the Gulf of Mexico and become a major hurricane prior to striking the upper Texas or southwest Louisiana coasts late Wednesday or early Thursday.
More than 3,85,000 residents were ordered to evacute in Texas and another 2,00,000 in Louisiana. Read on...

French president Macron calls on citizens to learn to live with coronavirus

French President Emmanuel Macron called on citizens to learn to live with the coronavirus after infections spiralled higher in recent weeks.
"To overcome the health crisis, we must learn to live with the virus," Macron tweeted on Tuesday, calling on people to show unity and assume responsibility to contain the epidemic resurgence, Xinhua news agency reported.
Macron said he had chaired a defence council over the epidemic situation "to organise with the best possible conditions taking into account the epidemic evolution," the start of the new academic year and work condition, after social mixing during summer vacation had led to faster virus spread and increasing clusters. Read on...

No further action over Iran sanctions: UN Security Council president

The president of the Security Council said that he will not take any action on a purported US notification for a "snapback" mechanism on sanctions against Iran.
Indonesia's UN ambassador Dian Triansyah Djani, whose country holds the Security Council presidency for the month of August, on Tuesday said he "is not in the position" to take further action as there is no consensus among council members over the issue, Xinhua news agency reported.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday submitted Washington's demand for the return of all pre-2015 UN sanctions against Iran. But the overwhelming majority of Security Council members hold that the US move does not constitute a "notification" as envisaged in Security Council Resolution 2231, which endorsed the Iran nuclear deal.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un calls for readiness against virus, typhoon

In a rare display of urgency, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un held his third high-level political conference in as many weeks, where he raised alarm about the nation's coronavirus response and a typhoon forecast to hit the country early Thursday.
During an enlarged meeting of the Politburo of the ruling Workers' Party on Tuesday, Kim lamented unspecified "defects" and shortcomings in the country's anti-virus campaign and urged that they be corrected swiftly, according to the North's official Korean Central News Agency said Wednesday. Read on...

Two persons dead, 9 rescued in Dewas building collapse

Two persons have died after a two-storey building collapsed at the Station Road near Lal Gate in Dewas here, informed National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) officer said on Wednesday.
"Two bodies were recovered and one more person was rescued from under the debris," said NDRF officer.
The search operation has concluded at the spot and a total of nine people have been rescued in the incident which occurred on Tuesday.
Municipal corporation and other teams were engaged in the rescue operation.

Cyber Crime Wing has arrested an accused who put up a fake Facebook account in name of Bengaluru City Police

JEE (Main) and NEET (UG) exams will be held on the dates announced earlier

Demand for cancellation of examinations due to coronavirus

By filing a petition in the Supreme Court against the guidelines mandating final year exams by the UGC, the students highlighted the issue of increasing COVID-19 cases with every passing day. In such a situation, the health and life of students will be at high risk if the examinations are taking place. Therefore, instructions should be given to cancel the guidelines of the UGC and declare the result on the basis of the past performance.

Sonia Gandhi to hold meeting with CMs of Congress-ruled states today to discuss NEET, JEE exams issue and GST

Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi will hold a virtual meeting on Wednesday (today) with Chief Ministers of Congress-ruled states and their counterparts of West Bengal, Maharashtra and Jharkhand on the issues related to Goods and Services Tax (GST) dues of states and Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) (Main) and The National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) (UG) exams.

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